Monday, August 3, 2009

Just Plain Ugly

The title kinda says it all, doesn’t it? Unlike a lot of other bloggers, I have been supportive of Armando Galarraga throughout this season, even through the month of May when he struggled, and barring anything unforeseen, I will continue to be supportive. I have tried my best to get to the bottom of why he has not been as dominant as he was last year, but if you think about it, this was his first truly rough start since early June. It just seems like he’s struggled more since then because he has only won two games since, and he didn’t win any in July (despite a very good earned run average for the month). Sometimes neither the win-loss record nor the earned run average tells the whole story. In light of that, can’t we explain yesterday’s disaster as he simply didn’t have anything working for him? I will do more soul-searching (as it were) if I need to down the road, but for now, I see no harm in chalking it up to a bad outing. Yes, those bad, ineffective, different-looking pitches were back with a vengeance, and as a result, he couldn’t throw strikes with regularity (though he only walked two). It seemed like he found the good slider briefly in the fifth inning and also the sixth right up until Grady Sizemore came to bat, and then he lost it again. Regrouping is gonna be a tough task for him, as his next two starts will be against Minnesota (his personal nemesis) and Boston (the nemesis of a lot of pitchers and their offense is on fire right now). Still, if there was anything good to be taken from this outing, it’s that he accepted his punishment like a man and gave the Tigers enough innings to spare the ‘pen. Leyland only had to use Casey Fien and Fu Te Ni, and neither of them had thrown on Saturday, so the bullpen (or at least the “important” pieces) should be near full strength for tonight.

Well, the Tigers are at home for a spell, so hopefully that perks up the offense (they could do with some better defense, as well). First up is the Baltimore Orioles for four. The Tigers split four games with them at Camden Yards, and it was a battle just to get that split. And though they’re actually near the bottom in runs scored in the AL, the Orioles still have a very good offense (pity we just couldn’t get Luke Scott into a Tigers uniform). However, it’s my birthday today, and I got my first choice of pitchers to watch tonight in Justin Verlander (which makes me halfway wish that I had chosen to go to tonight’s game instead of the one on the 15th, although as it stands right now, I would get Edwin Jackson in that game, which is not a bad consolation prize). Verlander was a strikeout machine against Texas, fanning 13 batters, and was pretty dominant outside of a bizarre fifth inning where he gave up quite a few consecutive hits. He’s already beaten Baltimore once this year, but even he was not immune to giving up home runs to Luke Scott (I think Jackson was the only one to keep Luke Scott under control). Meanwhile, the Orioles, by the numbers, have some of the worst pitching in the AL, but the Tigers had trouble with just about everyone they sent out back in May. Hopefully that’s not the case against Chris Tillman. Your Mood Music for tonight: It’s my birthday, so I’m gonna play my favorite song even though it really has no relevance to anything that’s happened recently. I just want to get myself pumped.

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